Pool board drops survey, may cut tax rate | RecordCourier.com

Pool board drops survey, may cut tax rate

by Andy Bourelle

The East Fork Swimming Pool District plans to decrease the amount of tax money it receives from the county, keeping enough revenue to cover its budget but not to save for a possible future facility.

“We’re not going to save for the future at this time,” chair Suzy Stockdale said Thursday, “because of the economic challenges the entire community is facing.”

As a result of Assembly Bill 616 passed by the 1997 Legislature, a large portion of room tax money – which largely funds Douglas County’s parks and recreation, library and senior services programs – will gradually be diverted toward tourism. Because of this and other economic challenges facing Douglas County, the board felt the pool district should not save for the possible future facilities at this time, Stockdale said, but receive only enough money for maintenance and operating costs of the Carson Valley Swim Center.

“The East Fork Swimming Pool District is a part of the community,” Stockdale said. “We want to help by reducing our tax rate by not saving for the future right now.”

The members of the pool district’s board of trustees agreed at their monthly meeting Feb. 18 to look at reducing the tax rate for this year’s budgeting process. The pool district also agreed not to proceed with its survey regarding residents’ opinions on current and future aquatic facilities in the district.

The pool district approved a proposal in November to work with a consulting firm and develop a survey. Board trustee Andy Burnham and Stockdale comprised a subcommittee which was working with RRC Associates Inc. on the survey.

Over the last few months, the subcommittee received input from the public, the county commissioners and the board, Stockdale said. When recommending the decreased tax rate, the subcommittee also recommended the board not proceed with the survey.

“We came to the realization that most people wanted us to lower the tax rate and live within our means,” Burnham said Thursday, “and to go through with the survey process just seemed like a waste of time and money.”

Stockdale said the pool district operates by following three principles: to have excellent maintenance and operating practices, to be accessible to the community and to plan for the growth of the community. In planning for growth, the district currently budgets for maintenance, upgrading and operating costs for the swim center and also saves for additional facilities or expansion of the pool.

The district will continue to operate by the principles except, at this time, saving for possible future facilities, Stockdale said.

Among the attendants at the meeting was county commission chair Jacques Etchegoyhen, who supported the pool board’s decision in light of the county’s recent economic situation.

“I’m glad (the pool board members) were receptive to the concerns of the public,” Etchegoyhen said Friday.

In preparing for the survey, the subcommittee had been in contact with a California-based company called Aquatic Design Group, which has worked with more than 600 swimming facilities nationally. The subcommittee plans to continue communications with Aquatic Design Group and look at ways to enhance the current pool facility and generate revenue, allowing the pool to become less dependent upon the tax money.

At the board’s March meeting, the members will start discussing the 1998-1999 budget and look at the specific amount the tax can be decreased and keep the facility operating at its current level.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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